Tire Derived Fuel (TDF)

Tire Derived Fuel (TDF) – use tires as beneficial alternative fuel sources (7)

  • Cement kilns
  • Pulp and paper mills
  • Industrial boilers
  • Electric utility power plant
  • Electric arc furnace
  • Pyrolysis (not commercially proven yet) or gasification feedstock (piloted at commercial scale in Lebanon TN making energy and biochar for fertilizing croplands)
  • Tire-to-energy(kw) – three plants all closed in the US

Ground Rubber

Ground Rubber (~42 types)

  • Agricultural Parts
  • Accessibility Products (sports edge reducers, transition ramps, ramp end landings, accessible routes, sidewalks, walking and running surfaces)
  • Animal Care (horse arena footings, exercise and dressage areas, barn and stable flooring, cow mats, animal bedding, animal wash areas, dog parks)
  • Automotive (specialized rubber compounds, coating systems for truck bed liners and underbody protection, tire sealants, wheel stops in parking lots (parking stops), new tire material, auto part material like accelerator or brake pedal covers or noise dampening foam sealants, mud flaps, gaskets, muffler hangers)
  • Ballistic Products (ballistic rubber backstops and tiles, had-to-hand combat training pits)
  • Building& Construction (• Waterproofing coatings for: Fixed features such as fountains, pools, spillways and aquatic tanks; Planter boxes and foundations; Concrete, masonry and other construction materials; Decks and pedestrian bridges;  Water and wastewater facilities • Waterproofing membranes for: Roofing underlayment; Chimney, window and wall flashing; Deck systems and concrete foundations • Acoustical and cushioning underlayment under installed ceramic or laminate floors • Crack suppressant over concrete floors and foundations • Creation of safe walkways in temporary work and construction areas)
  • Carpet Backing (from the tire fiber)
  • Carpet Cushion or padding
  • Cleaning Tools (waste cans, utility cans, dolly systems, wringer buckets, dust pans, waste baskets)
  • Coatings, Sealants & Paints (• Waterproofing and protection for truck bed liners and underbody protection • Sealants used to enhance tire performance, safety and longevity • Infrastructure coatings to seal or patch cracks or leaks • Waterproofing coatings for: Fixed features such as fountains, pools, spillways and aquatic tanks, Planter boxes and foundations, Concrete, masonry and other construction materials, Decks and pedestrian bridges, Water and wastewater facilities • Waterproofing membranes for: Roofing underlayment, Chimney, window and wall flashing, Deck systems and concrete foundations; Also see Building and Construction)
  • Consumer products like: coasters, jar openers, mouse pads
  • Erosion Eel – erosion and sediment control tubes
  • Flooring (floor mats, roof pavers, deck top architectural tiles, floor overlay, underlayment; Also see Building and Construction) – (Flooring can be reused, e.g. rubber playground tiles repurposed as horse stall mats)
  • Footwear
  • Garden & Landscape mulch
  • Industrial Surfaces (mats, pavers, tiles)
  • Irrigation hoses
  • Landscape Surfaces (rubber mulch, tree well covers, pervious pavements, sidewalks, weed abatement rolled matting, patio and garden blocks, landscape edging)
  • Mats, Pavers & Tiles (athletic safety tiles, playground tiles, chair mats, grill mats, insulating mats for vibration noise and heat resistance, construction or blast mats, link mats) (shock-proof paving, residential and industrial flooring, interlocking paving, livestock tiles)
  • Thermo-acoustic Sheath (Salvadori – Italy)
  • Paths, Walkways, Tracks, Sidewalks & Bike Trails Permeable Pavement Surfaces (Flexible Pavement) – also, shoreline erosion control,
  • Marine Products
  • Noise Barriers
  • Office Products
  • Rubber Modified Asphalt Pavements (field blend asphalt rubber binder, terminal blend asphalt rubber binder, dry process) used in hot mix asphalt (gap graded, open-graded, open-graded high binder, bonded wearing course, chip seals, Stress Absorbing Membrane Interlayers (SAMI), Tire Rubber Modified Slurry Seals (TRMSS), and Rubberized Emulsion Aggregate Slurry (REAS) Seal)
  • Playground Surfaces – pour in place safety surfacing, loose fill, mats,
  • Rubber Compounds
  • Rubber Plastic
  • Rail, Railroad crossings
  • Rubber Tiles & Rolls
  • Turf Protection
  • Retreads
  • Roofing (cedar shake style roofing shingles, membrane, EcoTorch roof surfacing)
  • Speed bumps
  • Sports Surfaces (synthetic turf, mats, tracks)
  • Traffic Related Products (reboundable and universal base systems, delineator and sign systems, traffic and work flow channelizer systems, plots, traffic-bearing expansion joints and seismic transition joints of base isolation, parking bumpers, traffic control weights, highway crash barriers)
  • Shims, Belts
  • Solid Wheels for Recycling Carts
  • Export of Fine Grind Materials
  • Lightweight growing media on green roofs (in PA for example)
  • Mix with concrete to make lighter weight noise barriers as in Zagreb Croatia – a kind of rubber modified concrete
  • Thermal Solar panel housing (solar thermal – Treadergy)

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering (25 uses)

  • Boat or Ship bumpers – small scale like at a summer cottage pier, large scale like the port for cruise ships in Hawaii, or engineered like alongside the Mayflower II in Plymouth Mass.(may be of whole tire, cut tire, or ground tire manufacture)
  • Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) is used for: Vibration dampener/mitigation
  • Lightweight aggregate (often highway use)      
  • Retaining wall backfill
  • Landslide stabilization (slide repair)
  • Slope stability
  • Road construction materials (embankments, berms, roadbase, landfill access roads)
  • Septic system drainage material
  • Porous media for leachate and gas collection and redistribution systems
  • Drainage aggregate
  • Stormwater infiltration gallery/bioretention
  • Alternative daily cover at landfills
  • Blowout stabilization (engineered systems for erosion control) (geocells, wrapped sand and rubber mix)
  • Stream or Lake Bank stabilization (engineered systems for erosion control)
  • Fish Habitat or artificial reef (not recommended)
  • Bales for windbreaks (approved, engineered systems)
  • Fences
  • Highway crash barriers
  • Building Foundation backfill – provides insulation, and drainage and could potentially reduce radon infiltration
  • High void space fill for below grade stormwater impoundments or detention/retention
  • Expansive soil interface material
  • Levee core material on unstable soils
  • Pipeline Tyre Mats (T&RR 2016/4)
  • Whole tires which have been filled with soil have been used as residential building wall construction material (See Earthships)
  • Road base (linked tires filled with gravel), road sublayer stability (Pothole Terminator)


Exports (2 uses)

  • Whole used tires
  • Whole or tire chips for tire derived fuel

Other Uses (24 uses) 

  • Agricultural use as weight to hold down silage pile tarps – whole tire or truck sidewall
  • Weights to hold down tarps at landfills
  • As a bulking agent at composting facilities
  • Construction barrel base weights
  • Punched or cut products like automotive washers or grader blades or snow blower blades
  • Tire swing, balance exercise, climbing walls – playground equipment
  • Tire log or Tire pole (New York Empire State Dev Authority – ReTread Products)
  • Sand box for large diameter ag tires
  • Planter
  • Landscaping borders
  • Sculpture – Tires as art
  • Furniture – chairs, tables, umbrella stand, and the like
  • Jewelry, Bracelets
  • Ties (the Rubbernecker) or belts
  • Shoes/Spifflapps or other clothing
  • Handbags
  • Playground devices for climbing and balancing
  • Athletic equipment for strength and agility
  • Bike rack
  • Compost bin
  • Crash barriers at race tracks
  • Structure at paint ball venues
  • Decorative fencing
  • Ovillanta mosquito traps

Other Uses

OTRs (4 uses)

  • Feed or Water troughs for livestock (e.g. cattle troughs)
  • Ballistics chips
  • Enclosures for scrap tire collection
  • Bulking agent for composting wet materials like sewage sludge

Off the Road

Fabric (2 uses)

  • Fuel
  • Concrete strengthener (UBC research)


Steel (1 use)

  • Recyclable metal - Bulk, baled, ignots


Airline Tires (1 use)

  • Reused in Agricultural applications

Airline Tires

Butyl Inner Tube Scrap - (2 uses) 

  • Punched products
  • Cut and shaped products and crafts

Butyl Inner Tube Scrap

Sheet Rubber (from roofing or conveyor belts) - (8 uses)


  • Irrigation ditch liners
  • Equipment covers/tarps
  • Traction pads
  • Perimeter fence vegetation reduction
  • Mats, pitching mats or golf mats
  • Cut pieces, pads on a roof
  • Snow plow and spreader guides (repurposedMaterials)
  • Trash hopper edging for garbage trucks

Sheet Rubber

Potential Future Uses (in research stage, or merely ideas) - (7 uses)

  • Substrate for 3D printing (e.g. Rubber Pouff)
  • Li ion battery components
  • Electrically conductive plastic pellets and scrap tire pyrolysis derived carbon black (USEPA Small Business Innovation Research Projects)
  • Railroad ballast for structural support (?)
  • Media in Collision Barriers (as opposed to sand) (JS original)
  • Inert fill to raise lowland elevations in preparation for sea level rising (e.g So. FL). (JS original idea – untested)
  • Scrap Tire pyramid (JS original idea)

Potential Future Uses

Internet Sites (not exhaustive):

For creative ideas Search Google or other search engine looking for: Tire Art

(I am indebted to the California Tire-Derived Product Guide, and the Scrap Tire and Rubber Users Directory in addition to my own observations and many other sources in the development of this compilation. Note that permits may be required for some uses.)

Further Information